Despite 65% of consumers expecting brands to promote diversity and inclusion in their online advertising, 53%, on the other hand, feel they aren’t fully represented. Modern consumers now view representation as an important value that brands should prioritize in social media channels, believing that their content should be inclusive.
Great social media content is created with an informed understanding of your brand’s target audience. Maryville University’s post on international science outlines how global businesses and organizations need to understand their customers’ demands. This means companies should meet the demands of their consumers who wish to see content that features diverse portrayals. That being said, social media campaigns should encompass different kinds of people. Brands are tasked with a twofold purpose: to recognize the role they play within the conversation of inclusivity and to highlight unheard voices in appropriate ways.
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Here are some ways small businesses can make social media content more inclusive.
1. Work with a diverse marketing team
Though this section doesn’t directly deal with how you can promote diversity in your social media content, it’s still significant. Before you can create an inclusive marketing campaign, you’ll need to first consult the right people that can strengthen your understanding of how diversity should be shown. For small businesses, ensure that your limited workforce employs a diverse marketing team that can offer valuable insights. Because these workers represent different backgrounds and ethnicities, you’re granted a closer look into the values they wish to see on social media, too. For example, female marketing employees can suggest strategies that can democratize content about sporting goods so they’re not male-focused. This change in perspective can help you better cater to the demographic you want to reach.
2. Feature diverse people in your imagery
Businesses should feature diverse people to improve the perception of their brand. Not only that, but by showcasing a range of ages, body types, or races, consumers from underrepresented communities can aspire to become part of an ideal look in mass media. Several beauty companies have limited shade options (with a focus on lighter skin tones), which can be demotivating for shoppers of color. Beauty brand creators like Samantha Ravndahl, however, champion inclusivity in their online marketing campaigns. Auric Cosmetics’ posts on social media are centered on representing a whole range of skin tones, specifically for their foundations. For smaller businesses that don’t have the luxury of creating an extensive product line, you can start by making sure your existing products are endorsed by different people. You may also work with influencers who are people of color or have disabilities, although we advise you to create a thoughtful collaboration proposal if you plan on doing so.
3. Contribute to conversations on important issues
In our post ‘How to Break Into Foreign Affairs Writing’, we discussed the need to identify disparate stories and how they connect to a larger audience— this is so people are given a chance to understand the importance of these issues. The same effort (of boosting lesser-known narratives) should go into your social media content; this is your cue to speak about important issues. For instance, Altra Running opened a dialogue about disordered eating and body shaming with their recent campaign for International Women’s Day. On Instagram, the brand shared stories of women who felt disadvantaged as runners, all because of the male-set standards of health and fitness, with #ThisIsARunnersBody. Ultimately, for smaller businesses, audience engagement is important. Partaking in relevant discussions can inspire your customers to express support or share their own experiences on the matter.
4. Amplify diverse voices through Instagram takeovers
Featuring product models of varying backgrounds shouldn’t be the only option for brands who want to diversify their social media content. After all, customers are interested in features or in-depth content from people who share their ethnicity or sexuality, and Instagram takeovers are a great way to do exactly that. An Instagram takeover essentially means a brand invites a guest or a worker to “take over” the platform for a day or two— and it’s also a low-cost means for small businesses to elevate their content. For example, if you have an LGBTQ+ employee, consider asking them to cover one of the local pride marches. This way, your social media followers are given a chance to immerse themselves in the event. Not to mention, your business gets to amplify voices that aren’t typically heard.